Rather spectacularly, the Las Vegas Raiders’ playoff hopes came crumbling down under the bright lights of Thursday Night Football.
The Rod Marinelli-led defense looked eerily similar to the one Paul Guenther led the previous 13 games. The $7.5 million backup, Marcus Mariota, stepped in and tried to keep the season alive, until a killer interception and a goal-line stall in overtime ended the Silver and Black’s snake-bitten season all but officially.
The Raiders in one sentence
“The Mariota Magic fell short.”
Mariota played very well. He was solid with his arm and his scrambling/read-option ability added another dimension to the offense. He played hard, kept the Raiders in the game, and deserves a lot of credit for that. However, that interception with two minutes remaining in regulation was horrendous and should’ve ended the game had the Chargers not been the Chargers. Then, he led the Silver and Black down the field with the first possession of overtime, only to come up 15 feet short of paydirt. Let’s shut down the Mariota over Carr talk even though the gap isn’t unimaginable.
Name the Game
Skipping this section this week. It’s far too painful. Desperately, RaiderNation would like to forget it, so let’s not validate that game by naming it.
Stat of the Game
Josh Jacobs- 2.9 Yards Per Carry. (26 carries for 76 yards)
The Raiders have invested far too much in their ground game to get less than three yards a carry from their lead back. On the offensive line, we have a first-round pick (Kolton Miller) and three other highly paid linemen (Rodney Hudson, Gabe Jackson, Trent Brown). On top of that, we invested a first-round pick in ’28’. So, 2.9 yards a carry is a complete failure from the whole lot of them, and playcaller/head Coach Jon Gruden, who is very predictable and lacks creativity with the ground game. Not ideal for a $100 million man.
The Carr blew a tire early and Mariota played well in his absence.
To speak on the Raiders’ entire quarterback situation, they should probably move off ‘4’ this offseason. He has been very good this season and by most meaningful metrics. However, the Raiders are stuck in purgatory and need to start over. Carr’s trade value should be relatively high with two years of contract remaining with cap hits of $22.1 million and $19.9 million. He should be able to bring in a mid-first rounder from a team like the Washington Football Team, and other clubs. Then, the Raiders could use Mariota as a one-year bridge for a young quarterback such as Zach Wilson, Trey Lance, Mac Jones, Kyle Trask.
Of course, had the Raiders not made a habit of wasting early draft picks and high-priced free-agent contracts, they wouldn’t be in this situation, where moving Carr would be best for the player and the team. It’s a shame the organization wasted the best signal-caller they’ve had since Rich Gannon.
The Good News
The Bad News
Another year without the playoffs. Faith in Gruden is at an all-time low.
Random Thoughts about the Raiders
- The Defense still sucks, guess it wasn’t all Paul Guenther’s fault.
- Darren Waller is improving, somehow.
- The Raiders’ last first first-round picks, Clelin Ferrell, Josh Jacobs, Johnathan Abrams, Henry Ruggs, and Damon Arnette.
- At best, four of them look bad and one looks meh. (still early though)
- Maxx Crosby is MIA.
- Bryan Edwards getting majorly out-snapped by Zay Jones is a disaster.
- Raekwon McMillian had some decent moments, more of him, please.
- Cory Littleton is the most disappointing free agent ever.
- *Throws Flag* Number 27 (Treyvon Mullen) for pass interference.
Apology of the Week
I’m just sorry that I had to watch that on an otherwise very fine Thursday night. I’m sorry you guys had to watch it too. But I’m mostly sorry I had to watch it.
One Prediction about the Raiders for Next Week
The Raiders lose and it ruins everybody’s Saturday nights.
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Top Photo: Issac Brekken/Associated Press